Examining student outcomes from a research experiences for undergraduates (REU) program: Year two results

D. Jake Follmer, Sarah E. Zappe, Esther Gomez, Manish Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The importance of undergraduate research experiences in facilitating students' research-based skills and development has been supported in numerous studies1-4. The current study presents a follow-up, second-year evaluation of an in-progress research experiences for undergraduates (REU) program, funded by the National Science Foundation, which focuses on the integration of biology and materials. Participating students (N=13; 39% female; 54% underrepresented minority status) completed measures of research-based skills and experience, likelihood of pursuing graduate school, and openness to collaborating with others both prior to and after completion of the ten week REU program. Participants also completed in-depth interviews as well as measures of REU program satisfaction and ratings of REU program elements after completing the REU. Students demonstrated significant gains in measures of research experience and specific research-based skills. Students also rated themselves as open to collaborating with other students and faculty during research both before and after completing the program. Ratings of program elements indicated positive ratings of the working relationship with research mentors, the working relationship with research group members, the amount of time spent with research mentors, and the advice given about graduate school. Improvement was suggested for the element of amount of time spent doing meaningful research. REU program participants indicated anticipated completion of a presentation, talk, or poster at a professional conference (25%) and involvement in co-writing a paper for either an academic journal or an undergraduate research journal (33%). Approximately 58% of participants indicated plans for some level of graduate school at program completion. Interviews of program participants corroborated the indication of research-based gains and provided a more in-depth understanding of impact of the program. Specifically, interviews provided information about participants' interests in pursuing the program, perceptions of the effectiveness of specific program elements, and suggestions for improvement. Implications for the development of research programs for undergraduate students are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 26 2016
Event123rd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - New Orleans, United States
Duration: Jun 26 2016Jun 29 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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